What Kind Of Milk Do You Put In Your Daily Coffee?

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Many coffee shops have started carrying alternatives to Cow’s milk. Until recently, Soy Milk was the the only alternative to milk that was offered. Now, you might find options like Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. (How exciting!) You might be curious as to why you would switch over to a milk-alternative if you are not lactose intolerant. Well, I am here to give you 2 nutritional reasons why you might consider making the switch.

1. Most coffee shops do not carry Organic Milk. You may know my recommendations already, however, if you haven’t heard me say this before… “If there is one thing that you should choose to buy Organic, it should be animal products.” Unfortunately, in this country, most of the cows are treated with antibiotics and hormones. That means that consuming non-organic dairy on a daily basis exposes you to high levels of hormones which in turn disrupts your natural hormone levels. By the way, you do not have to be a female to experience changes in your hormones! Shifts in our food system are playing a big role in the increased infertility levels, estrogen dominance in both males and females, and fluctuations in testosterone levels.

2. Dairy is one of the top 7 food sensitivities. That means that dairy can still be negatively affecting your health even if you are no “allergic” to it. If you are “sensitive” to dairy, you may experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, mucus (flem, snot, congestion), itchy throat, eczema or other skin conditions.

Now you might ask, what dairy-alternatives do I recommend?

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I suggest choosing unsweetened Almond Milk and unsweetened Coconut Milk. (Hemp Milk and Rice Milk and Cashew Milk are also good options but they are not offered at coffee shops..yet) If you are getting them at a coffee shop, they may only have the sweetened version. In that case, you may want to consider adding less sweetener or no sweetener at all.

I also recommend steering clear of Soy Milk. Soy is one of the most commonly genetically-modified crops, so it is best to choose organic soy or soy that is marked “non-GMO” when you can. Most coffee shops do not offer organic or non-GMO soy milk. Similar to Cow’s milk, Soy can enhance estrogen levels in the body. Soy is also on the top 7 Most Common Food Sensitivities list.

When you first switch over to a dairy-alternative, it is clearly not going to taste exactly the same as the milk that you have been drinking for years. However, if you give it a chance for at least 1 week, you will begin to adjust to the new flavor. I can speak from personal experience, it does not taste “bad,” it just tastes “different” at first.

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Embrace Your Sweet Tooth

Humans are naturally inclined to favor sweet flavors. What we do not naturally crave is artificial sweeteners. Now more than ever, people are strongly addicted to the artificial sweet flavors and much higher levels of sweetness than the body needs. Sugar brakes down to carbohydrates which converts to energy in the body. We really do need carbohydrates in our diet but we have to make sure we are consuming the type of carbohydrates that are going to give us energy rather than sucking energy out of us.

In order to curb the addiction to artificial sugars and higher levels of sugar intake, I highly recommend buying the “unsweetened” version of packaged food products and sweeten them yourself. This way you can control the quality and quantity of the sweetener you are adding.

Some foods that you would look for the “unsweetened” version of are:

  • Yogurt (no flavor, no added sweetener, add your own fruit and natural sugar)
  • Oatmeal
  • Almond milk
  • Morning coffee (try going for plain instead of flavored and add your own sweetener)

Refer to Natural Sweeteners to find out which sugars are healthy alternatives to add.

No need to deny that sweet tooth. It’s all about being in control of your sweet tooth rather than it being in control of you.

All Time Favorite Green Juice Recipe

Okay, so I know it is important to switch it up every now and then to keep a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet but I just can’t help make this juice over and over again because it is so damn good!

Ingredients

  • 1 handful kale, de-stemmed
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 lemon, peel removed
  • 1-2 inch piece of ginger (depends on how much spice you like)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/4 cup celery or parsley

Drink the juice ASAP or store in a closed container in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

Click here to find out how to make your juice experience more health-supportive!

Juicing or Smoothies, What’s the Difference?

Both juices and smoothies are very efficient ways of packing nutrients into your diet. I recommend having either a juice or a smoothie every single day! You see, it would be pretty unlikely to eat 1 apple, 2 celery stalks, a handful of kale, a handful of spinach and half a lemon with some ginger in 1 sitting. Therefore, it is more effective to combine them together into liquid form.

The main difference between juices and smoothies is fiber. When you make a juice, the fiber from the fruit and vegetables is removed. When you make a smoothie, the fiber remains. This is not to say that smoothies are better than juices, they are just different in how they affect your blood sugar levels. Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar into your blood stream.

When you are juicing you want to make sure that you are using lots of green vegetables instead of just carrots and beets. As you may know, some vegetables have higher glycemic indexes than others. When food has a high glycemic index, it spikes your blood sugar levels up higher than a food that has a low glycemic index.

When you are making smoothies, it is advisable to incorporate 50% fruit and 50% leafy greens rather than making a smoothie from all fruit. Spinach is the best leafy green to add to your smoothie if you are looking for a very mild taste. Since you are already getting some sweetness from the fruit, it would be best to use water or milk as the liquid part of your smoothie instead of fruit juice.

Regardless of whether you are consuming a smoothie or a juice, it is important to also have a protein and a fat at the same time. It is easier to incorporate protein and fat into a smoothie by using nut butter, flax seeds and some protein powder. It is not much harder to incorporate a protein and fat at the same time while consuming a smoothie. The importance of adding carbohydrates and fat to your daily smoothie or juice routine is to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. You will remain full for longer when you consume some protein with your juice or smoothie.

My suggestion is to keep some variety in your diet. So instead of just drinking smoothies or just drinking juices, I suggest that you alternate between the two. It is also optimal to rotate through different recipes so that you can incorporate a variety of different vegetables.

Strawberry & Kale Smoothie

It’s a hot morning here in San Diego. This strawberry & kale smoothie is my ideal way to start a day like today.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 frozen Strawberries
  • 3 leaves Kale, de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened Kefir
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk or filtered water
  • 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
  • 2 Mint leaves, chopped
  • Protein0powder (optional). I like hemp or brown rice protein powder.

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
  2. ENJOY!

I like this smoothie because it is a nice mix of sweet, refreshing and earthy flavors. If you have never put kale in your smoothie before, go ahead and try something new. When I first put kale in my smoothies I was pleasantly surprised. It is not too overwhelming and the taste pairs well with the fruit in the smoothie. Great way to get some greens in your body first thing in the morning.

Make Your Own Nut-Milk In 3 Easy Steps

Why would one make their own nut-milk? Nut-milks are very hypoallergenic compared to regular milk because they do not contain any lactose. People can be sensitive to lactose even if they are not lactose intolerant. Nut-milks also contain healthy fats. Making your own nut-milk is beneficial because it is super easy, super fresh and you know that there are 0 additives to your product. Plus, it is kind of fun.

This method streamlines across the board for all different types of nuts. The only ingredients/ kitchen tools required are:

  • 1 cup of nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
  • 4-5 cups of filtered water
  • A nut-milk bag–can be found at your local natural foods store
  • A blender
  • 1 big 1/2 gallon jar or 2-quart size jars

3 Easy Steps

Step 1- Soak the nuts

Place 1 cup of nuts into a bowl and cover with water. Ideally you would like to soak nuts for 10-12 hours. Cashews should only soak for 7 hours. To understand the reason for this step check out the benefits of soaking nuts, grains and legumes. If you forget to soak your nuts over night then soak them for as long as you can.

When the nuts are done soaking, strain out the water and rinse them under cold water.

Step 2– Add ingredients to a blender

Place the nuts in the blender. Add 4-5 cups of water (depending on how big your blender is). Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. The liquid should be well-incorporated and appear a milky white color. If you choose to flavor your nut-milk, my favorite combination is: 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Note: If I use my nut-milk for smoothies, I usually don’t add any honey because there is enough sugar from the fruit.

Step 3– Strain using nut-milk bag

Place your nut-milk bag in pitcher or a bowl. Pour contents from blender into the nut-milk bag. Pull the draw string and squeeze all the liquid out. You can choose to discard the nut-pulp that is inside the nut-milk bag or you can use it to make baked goods or Almond Pulp Crackers.

Store your nut-milk in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get a balanced meal in at the beginning of the day. They can be made in a matter of minutes and are easy to grab on your way out the door. This fall-spiced pumpkin smoothie is a great way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

Oh so simple and Oh so festive.

Photo credit: Allison O’brien

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree (look for BPA Free cans)
  • 1 cup Kefir or Unsweetened Yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 ice cube

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smoothie is well incorporated.

Note: If you want a thicker consistency, add more ice. If you want a thinner consistency add water or almond milk.